Wednesday, December 01, 2004

When the Bible says different things

I was looking up various passages of the Bible for a project of mine and stumbled across an interesting phenomena.

Romans 13:2

  • Do not act like the sinful people of the world. Let God change your life. First of all, let Him give you a new mind. Then you will know what God wants you to do. And the things you do will be good and pleasing and perfect. (New Life Version)
  • Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (New International Version)
  • Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (New American Standard Bible)
  • Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them]. (Amplified Bible)
  • So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. (New Living Translation Bible)
  • Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (King James Version)
  • So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God's command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  • Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (English Standard Version)
  • People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished. (Contemporary English Version)
  • So that he that sets himself in opposition to the authority resists the ordinance of God; and they who [thus] resist shall bring sentence of guilt on themselves. (Darby Version)

  • Etc. Etc.

    Most of these passages say basically the same thing in different ways. However, all of these passages differ from each other significantly in the specifics (and some of them dramatically, like the first one).

    Assuming the fundies are correct, and the Bible is the direct word of God, which word should I be following? Am I damned or condemned? Is it God's ordinance that I'm opposing, his institution or his appointment? Does this refer to divine authorities or to worldly ones? Who dispenses the punishment, and is that punishment a worldly punishment or spiritual one?

    Anyone that thinks that Christianity is a emancipatory faith, or that the Apostles were radicals... think again. Christianity from the outset didn't seek to make any waves, but rather to supplant other imperialistic religions in an ideological war of position.


    • At December 01, 2004 4:03 pm, Blogger Nic White said…

      "but rather to supplant other imperialistic religions in an ideological war of position.Oh please, do you habe to come out with stuff like that?

      Not all translations are entirely accurate as many of them paraphrase. The only one Id say is reliable that you have there is the KJV.

    • At December 01, 2004 4:14 pm, Blogger Alex said…

      I assume you haven't been following my thesis entries then...

    • At December 01, 2004 10:22 pm, Blogger JP said…

      There is a healthy and ongoing debate about different Bible translations. As you are aware, the Bible was not written in English, but in Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek. Numerous different philosophies of translation exist. Needless to say, all the translators are human, and even with the best of intentions, see things differently. This is why having an understanding of the original texts is so important, and why Bible Colleges continue to keep Greek and Hebrew as compulsory subjects for Theology students regardless of the number of translations and resources we have available in English.

      The URL below leads to a site which links to dozens of questions on the issue ot translations.

      Also, you may be interested to know that Wycliffe Bible Translators, who have been involved in hundreds of Bible Translations around the world, have their Australian national centre in Melbourne. Their website is:

      I am sure they can put anyone interested in real Bible translation issues in contact with experts in the area.

    • At December 02, 2004 3:57 pm, Blogger miss piss said…

      The King James isn't any more reliable than the others, but wtfever.

    • At December 02, 2004 8:38 pm, Blogger Alex said…

      In fact, the KJV is not very reliable at all, if we are talking about faithful translations.


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